Does your lack of self belief hold you back?

Self belief is something I have struggled with throughout my life. I have never believed that I was as good as everyone else. Always felt that I had to prove myself more than others. Always needed a certificate to tell me I was capable of doing something new.  

It took my many years to realise that some skills can’t be taught and some skills we come pre-loaded with. No-one taught me how to be a teacher. yes I spent 4 years doing a degree so that I had the qualification I needed , but I was born with the ability to teach. Teaching is such an intrinsic part of who I am that I can’t not teach. When I spend time with children I can’t help guiding their experiences so that they learn something new. Even when I spend time with adults I love passing on knowledge I have gleaned from something I have read or heard that might be of interest.

I thought everyone could teach. I genuinely did. Then I went on some training courses when I started learning holistic therapies and realised that not everyone can teach!

I sat through a three day course where having been given a beautifully printed workbook the “teacher” hopped from page 52 to page 3 then page 87 and back to page 12, while writing in virtually illegible writing up the edges of a flip chart and talking in a monotonous voice.

At that point I had an epiphany!

Teaching is one of my superpowers.

This person was clearly making a good living delivering training and yet they were disorganised, there was no flow to the sessions and even as a sympathetic and interested student I was bored and knew I wasn’t taking as much information in as I wanted to. This person was teaching adults. In a classroom full of children or teenagers they would have been eaten alive.

For years I had allowed my inner voice to prevent me from taking chances, from putting myself out there and taking on new challenges because my inner critic would shout: “Who do you think you are? Do you really think you could do that? Other people can do that but you can’t” 

Since that day I have acknowledged that my ability to impart wisdom is a gift, and probably my most valuable skill. I allow myself to say out loud that I am a teacher and a good teacher, for years I saw this as a job description, but it is so much more than that.

I have also realised that it isn’t my only super power. I have loads!

Do I always radiate self belief? No.

Do I sometimes allow self doubt to flood my body and paralyse me? Occasionally, but not very often these days.

Am I making progress every day? Oh yes!

Every single day I try to make myself do something I think I can’t do. Whether it is digging the garden when I know I’m tired or saying yes to a business opportunity that scares me, I make myself do it and prove to myself that I can.

The Yes Woman!

Do you remember Danny Wallace’s project (and subsequent book and film) “The Yes Man”. “Wallace vowed to say yes to every offer, invitation, challenge, and chance” (credit: Amazon.co.uk). This one change totally transformed his life. I may not be in a position to say yes to every opportunity, I have my family to consider, but I decided a few years ago that I would say yes to every business offer that came my way and work out how to make it happen after. It has brought so many amazing opportunities into my life. 

Like so many things, self belief is something that only you can change. 

You have to make a decision to change, to start believing in your own ability more, no-one can do it for you. Click To Tweet

It isn’t easy and there certainly isn’t a quick fix.

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.”

Roy T. Bennett

Author, The Light in the Heart

What can you do to improve your self belief?

Use your Superpowers

My superpowers are teaching, learning, caring and overcoming adversity. These are just the first few that popped into my head, I know now that I have many more. Sit and think about what your superpowers are, make a list of all your gifts. If you genuinely can’t think of any, ask someone you trust, they will tell you in a heartbeat. 

Use power poses

Power poses have been proven to make you act and feel more confident. Standing with your shoulders back and your head high automatically makes you feel more confident.

Use Visualisation

See yourself looking and feeling confident in your minds eye. Close your eyes, picture a situation that you find intimidating and see yourself looking happy, calm and confident. Keep using the same visualisation until you believe that it can be no other way.

Do one thing that scares you every day?

It doesn’t have to be something big. It might be that you don’t like using the phone and you make yourself ring the dentist. You might not like being in busy places and decide to go to a shopping centre. Perhaps you are scared of driving in unfamiliar areas, make yourself take a trip somewhere new. Whatever it is for you, just do something little every day. Flex your self confidence muscles.

Challenge your inner voice

We all have an inner critic who tells us we can’t do things, and makes us doubt our ability. However much that inner critic thinks it is helping us, it is often holding us back. Evolution taught us to be wary of situations that have caused us to be scared or anxious as a way of keeping us safe, most of the things we are scared of now are not physically dangerous though so we need to find ways to shut that inner voice up. The quickest way I have found is to question what the voice is saying; Is this true? Is it definitely true? How do I know? Can I prove it? Really challenge your inner voice and make it prove itself.

Read about others who have built their self belief

There is no better teacher than someone who has experienced what you are going through. The reason I teach relaxation and mindfulness is because I suffered from crippling anxiety in my late teens and early twenties then went on to suffer from depression when I started teaching. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through without strategies and support. By learning about other people who have overcome the challenges you face it enables you to learn from them and also reminds you that it is possible. A quick search on Amazon will bring up lots of self belief books, choose one that looks appealing.

Be kind to yourself

It is so important not to beat yourself up for feeling self doubt because that isn’t helpful. Challenge yourself and reward yourself for taking baby steps in the right direction. If you don’t achieve your target, take a deep breath and decide to do it tomorrow. Make time to relax and look after yourself. If you aren’t getting enough rest you can’t function at the level you need to to make real progress. 

Final word

The most important thing to remember is that nothing is permanent. Nothing. You can change anything if you decide you want to. Making that choice is the hardest part, if you are reading this, you’ve already taken that step.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and buy the product/service associated I will receive a small payment in return. The product/service will not cost you any more. I never recommend anything I have not experienced myself. I always appreciate any purchases made using my links as they enable me to continue writing and helping more people. Find out more in my Terms of Service.

Being Mindful in a Crisis

There are times when life really challenges us. When it asks us to use every drop of strength and courage we have to cope with a situation or crisis. 

Whether it is a short term upheaval like an accident or a long term challenge such as a bereavement, we have to gather all our tools, all our strength and find a way to get through.

If you are above school age, chances are life has challenged you at some point. It may have been the loss of a loved or beloved pet. It may have been a serious illness you had to battle against. Perhaps you lost your job and been worried about your financial future and security.

Whatever challenges life has thrown at you, you have survived. I know that because you are reading this.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, this weekend my family had their coping strategies challenged and it was fascinating watching the range of responses to the situation.

 

To give you some background we were having a day out; my husband and children, my parents, my sister and her family and her in laws. Everyone was having a lovely time, enjoying the weather and each other’s company when something happened which changed the entire course of the day.

There was an accident involving one of the children. I feel able to talk about this now because they are ok, but I won’t go into details.

Everyone present loves that little bundle of joy so much, and we are all equally besotted with her.

The range of reactions was interesting though.

The parents jumped into action and doing what needed to be done along with one grandparent who was driving – the rest of us had walked. The remaining adults comforted the children and each other. There was a brief period of panic and, in some cases, hysteria and then there was nothing further we could do. 

Some of the adults, and older children, were clearly reliving the experience and trying to predict the outcome – impossible.

The youngest child, once recovered from the drama, carried on as normal, playing, chatting and eating ice lollies. 

The remaining adults, for a variety of reasons, just carried on until there was news and something to be done, practically to help.

This is the very essence of mindfulness.

Living in the moment. Reacting to what is happening, not what we imagine might happen. 

When life challenges us it is easy to get lost in a sea of “what ifs” and “if onlys” but it is only what we can do differently now that matters.

Even at the most desperate times we always have a choice about what we think and how we react.

We could have chosen to abandon the day out and sit panicking in a tea room somewhere but we chose to entertain the children and keep ourselves busy to pass the time until there was more news.

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor

Thich Nhat Nanh

Author

Passing the time and focusing on what we could change was the only option we had. The children were already upset and distraction is a powerful tool for young minds.

It is important that when life presents us with obstacles and situations to deal with which feel like they might break us, that we take a deep breath and use that time to make some choices. We can choose to be a victim of circumstance or we can choose to be the captain of our own ship.

Even at the most challenging moments we can ask ourselves; what is the most beneficial thing I can do for myself right now? It may be to have a cup of sweet tea and a piece of cake (we did that on Saturday too!), sometimes that is enough to steady our nerves and give us the energy to carry on. It may be to create an action plan to get us out of the crisis we have found ourselves in. Or it may be to sit in self care; have a bath, go for a run, treat ourselves to whatever our soul needs right now.

Life is precious and if we don't live every minute as though we mean it, we're wasting the most valuable commodity we have, time. Click To Tweet

When we take time to breath and really think about what the best course of action is, we can amaze ourselves with the resilience and strength we have within us. We all have it, we just have to find it and mindfulness is a great map to help us find it.

 

What do I mean by mindfulness?

Well, I have already said that in essence it is just being present but I appreciate that that is an abstract concept. Why not try this easy mindful breathing exercise next time you are under pressure.

 

Calming breath

Close your eyes and relax your shoulders.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and feel the breath entering your nose. Does it feel warm or cold? Did you feel your breath anywhere else as you took the breath in, maybe the back of your throat or your chest?

As you breathe out pay attention to your breath again.

This time as you breathe in imagine the air entering your body is a beautiful calming blue and it makes you feel so relaxed as it enters your body.

When you breathe out imagine that calming blue breath is removing any stress and tension from your body.

Repeat this 3-5 times or as many as you need to begin to feel more calm and relaxed. 

 

The Restorative Benefits of Nature

This is not what I was intending to write about today but after three days of glorious sunshine I couldn’t resist basking in the beauty of nature for just a little longer.

It was May Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK this weekend and miraculously the weather has been amazing! The sun has shone for three days straight. There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky, the birds have sung and the shops sold out of ice cream and barbecue food.

We have had my sister and her children staying for the weekend, escaping their building work and we have made the most of every minute of sunshine. We have spent time at the park, been for a walk and a picnic on Cannock Chase (a beautiful woodland), had another picnic and a walk at Stafford Castle and spent time in the garden.

 

 

 The benefits of being out in nature 

I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you how lovely it is to be outside in the sunshine. The healing properties of that big ball of gas in the sky are powerful indeed. My children and I were discussing the fact that just the smell of suncream puts us in a good mood because you know that if you need suncream then it’s a beautiful day.  There are so many smells of spring sunshine; blossom on the trees, fresh cut grass, barbecue smoke and washing on the line.

Then there are colours. The bright green of new foliage, the blue of the sky, the pink and white of blossom on the trees. The feel of the breeze on your skin, the sound of the birds in the trees, lawnmowers buzzing and of children playing. The senses are truly brought to life in this weather. 

The science bit…

It isn’t just the mindful, sensory experience of being in nature that is so beneficial though – although that is wonderful for our well being. There are sound medical and scientific reasons why being in nature is beneficial too.

When we visit the seaside the air is full of negative ions, which despite how it sounds is really beneficial in helping us feel more positive.

When we spend time in trees we feel happier, the air is cleaner because the trees are natures air purifiers, the green colour is even believed to make you live longer, trees are natural healers.  

When we go paddling the pebbles massage our feet and the water cools and washes them. Our feet feel instantly revived.

Just to add to the list of benefits, when we spend time outdoors we aren’t inside staring at a screen, we are usually walking or paddling or playing. 

You don’t really need me to tell you that being in nature is good for you though do you?

You only need to do it, to feel it, to remember it to know that its calming, magical powers can take away even the heaviest of burdens and make you feel calm and happy again. If you are fortunate enough for that time in nature to be with loved ones then the benefits are ten fold. 

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”

John Muir

American Naturalist and Author

When was the last time you took time to be in nature? To sit and relax in the garden, to walk through the woods, to paddle in a stream or in the sea?

If you can’t remember, then it’s time to get out there again. Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to the shop instead of driving. Take time to visit your favourite garden, woodland or seaside spot. Your body and your well being will be glad you did.

 

Are you achieving your potential?

Are you achieving your potential? This is a question I ask myself all the time. We are being told all the time that life is short and we have to live every minute to the fullest. I know deep in my soul that that is important, really important. It was one of my most fundamental shifts after I was so ill. I felt deeply that I needed to live and be fully present every day.

I do… most of the time!

But I’m human. Sometimes I am tired and I have to allow myself to rest. Occasionally my family life takes over and I have to be there to care for my children and my work takes a back seat a little bit. At times I have to put self care first. When I have my 6 weekly injection it can really wipe me out for a day and there is little I can do about that.

Should I beat myself up at these times?

Absolutely not!

Is it frustrating at times? Yes!

Do I have to accept that that is life? Yes!

Would I be happy, healthy and walking my talk if I pushed through and chained myself to work every time something came up to derail me a little? Of course not!  

Could I stand up and talk about the importance of giving our children the love and support they need, and preach about how vital they are to the future, if I locked myself in my office every time my own children needed me? Well, I could try but it would be inauthentic and you would see through me in no time.

Would I be able to tell you how important self care is, and how crucial it is to look after yourself, if I didn’t stop and allow my body to rest when it is being challenged? You’re getting the idea aren’t you?

If I don’t listen to my own advice, then how can I give it?

Do I always rest when I’m tired? Honestly no, but do I make sure I rest as soon as I can? Yes I do. Because I have learned the hard way that if I don’t my body takes matters into its own hands and forces me to.

Does the fact that I am giving myself time out from my work mean that I am not achieving my potential? 

No! If I pushed through and worked 24/7 I would burn out really quickly and then I wouldn’t be any use to anyone.

Are there times when I could do more?

Yes there are. I work hard to create the best resources and provide the most helpful information possible, but I am phenomenally bad at shouting about it once I have finished creating. I am learning that it’s all very well working hard and creating brilliant resources, but if no-one ever knows they are there, then there is really no point.

It’s all well and good being knowledgeable, but if you can’t share that with other people it has no value at all.

So what am I going to do about it?

Well, I’ve already started. I am putting myself out there more. I am more active on social media, I’m writing for new audiences, I am responding to journalist requests, I even applied to be on a TV show! I know!

I truly believe that I have a lot to share with the world, and I am trying to be brave and tell everyone about the amazing work I do.

Is it easy? NO!

Not even a little bit! Would I be happier hiding in a cave writing and making beautiful resources?

Yes, most days!

But knowing that the people who need my work most will never see it or being able to benefit from it if I don’t tell someone and learn to step into my own power and achieve my own potential definitely drives me forward.

Every day when we wake up we have a decision to make about whether we make the day count or we allow it to wash over us. If you decide to read a book or go for a walk is that making the most of your day? Yes if it makes you happy and if you really benefit from it. If you sit watching TV all day? Well, if your body needs total rest then yes, in some circumstances that might be the best use of your time. If you are watching brain chewing gum and just distracting yourself from all the things you know you should be doing, then it really isn’t helping you to build the life you want to live is it?

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Philosopher

So why am I sharing all this with you?

Well, partly because I think it’s important for you to know that I too am a work in progress. We all are, forever, so get used to it. But I also want you to stop and think about your own life. That’s what this is about. It doesn’t matter to you whether I achieve my potential.

It makes no difference to anyone but you if you achieve your potential. Click To Tweet

There was a study done many years ago where end of life carers were asked what they were most often told by patients on their death beds. It was always things they wish they had done, people they wanted to have had more time with.

According to the Independent the most common regret was:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”

Achieving our own potential, isn’t always about earning the most money, having the biggest house or the most expensive car, it may be knowing that you have really helped someone every day or that you were the best mum/dad/nurse/teacher/plumber you could be. Whatever you need to do to really feel that you have given it your all and you will have no regrets when it is your turn to lie in that bed and look back over your life.

Live in the moment. Be your best self every minute. Be aware of your impact in the world. Make sure you are changing the world for the better – not someone else’s idea of better, your idea of better.  

What are you waiting for? Take a deep cleansing breath and step out of your comfort zone and into you creative arena!

I can’t wait to see you shine!

You only get one life, live it!

You only get one life. We are told, all the time; “life isn’t a dress rehearsal”, “live every moment as though it was your last”…

Today is Easter Monday. We were supposed to be having a family trip to Oxford. Visiting the Ashmolean Museum, wandering round the beautiful streets of Oxford, stay over night and then tomorrow visit the Road Dahl Museum. We had it all planned.

Then our plans changed. Something came up, and to be honest the weather forecast was horrendous. Instead I woke up this morning. Fed the hens. Put some washing on. Cleaned the bathrooms. Did several other little jobs and then made a comforting lunch for the family.

This afternoon we decided to snuggle up and watch a film. 

The children have been wanting to watch Jumanji 2, so today seemed like the perfect day.

Out came the popcorn, crack went the Easter eggs and we sat under blankets watching the rain pouring down the window.

It was a great film. There aren’t many films that we all enjoy because we all have such different tastes, but this one was great.

 

The thing that I took away from it though was the life tattoos that the characters had when they were in the computer game.

If you haven’t seen the film, when the characters are transported into the computer game they realise that they have three black bars tattooed on their inner arm. They soon realise that these are their lives in the computer game. When they regenerate a bar vanishes.

At one point the characters discuss this, and one points out that in the real world they all only have one life, so what difference does it make that they are down to their last life?

It got me thinking.

My theme for this year seems to be “you only live once, so just do it” or as my friend Emilio would say JFDI!

I am constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone and feeling the fear, but doing it anyway. Last week I went on a course with my lovely friends Taz and Asha; “Awesome PR and Social Media”. What a great day!

As always these two not only filled the day with fun and fabulous information, they also pushed us way out of our comfort zones – for the whole day.

We don’t get to see each other very often so we went for a cuppa and a chat after. Typically, their mentoring didn’t end at the end of the day. They continued to push me until the moment we said goodbye – including having me do a Facebook Live in the middle of McDonalds to overcome my fear of video! 

One of the things I promised myself after my tumour, and honestly, one of the most natural side effects of my illness, was that I decided to live for today. To be brave and face my fears.

But that was 10 years ago now and it’s amazing how those side effect begin to wear off, to dilute over time.

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

So now, I’m working on it. Really working on it. 

I’m reading and learning. I’m flexing my comfort zone muscles. I am planning the live videos I will be doing. I have recorded a podcast which will be released very soon, and I am putting myself out there.

I’m terrified. I really am. But I’m more scared that I won’t do it. That I’ll be sitting one day with a long list of “should’ves” and “could’ves” and I’ll regret the chances I didn’t take and the brave, bold steps I never made. I have never had any real desire to have a tattoo, but the idea of having one black bar on my wrist to remind me that I only have one life, is very tempting. I will certainly internally carry that message with me.

So I’m going to take a deep breath. Write it in my planner and JFDI, because the thought of not doing it is much more terrifying than the thought of doing it. 

5 Mindful Minutes

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Sign up now to get your free ebook "Start your day with 5 mindful minutes" and get weekly newsletters with techniques and advice about living a more mindful and meaningful life.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest